Could you each speak for a few minutes about what you’re currently working on, excited about, and motivated by, academically and politically?
The topic here, broadly speaking, is affinity politics as it relates to interdisciplinary scholarship, and vice versa. Both of you argue in your work that relationships between certain embodied experiences as political subjects, or between certain fields of scholarly inquiry, are not merely intersectional or coincidental but in fact mutually constitutive—that, for example, racism in the United States continues to be informed by ableist ideas, as you argue, Dr. Schalk, in Bodyminds Re-imagined, or that crip theory is unthinkable without queer theory, as you discuss in Feminist, Queer, Crip, Dr. Kafer. Meanwhile, Dr. Angela Davis writes that the Black radical tradition is an approach that can and should be adopted for other political struggles; and on a Jewish literature panel at the last ACLA conference it was decided unanimously among the panelists that a person need not be Jewish to write Jewish literature!
Something we found so helpful in both of your books was that you both take such care to define terms rather than make assumptions about what your reader is understanding. With that in mind, would you explain what you mean by “affinity politics”–or coalitional, solidarity, multi-issue politics–how this differs from identity politics, and why you find “affinity” a useful approach in both the activist and academic communities you’re each part of? What does “affinity” or “coalition” mean in terms of interdisciplinarity as a conscious methodology as opposed to a mere coincidence?
What are the limitations, the pitfalls, and the challenges inherent in this approach, and how do you address or ameliorate that?
What are the applications that you see possible or useful for some of the many crises we are currently grappling with? That is, how is a crip perspective not just a fresh angle or interesting take on Black Lives Matter, or reproductive rights battles, or treatment of detained migrants at the border, but critically important? What can we add, as scholars, to these movements?
Besides what scholars can bring to these movements, how do we, on the other hand, bring them into our classrooms in a way that is inclusive, not alienating, for all of our students? How do we ensure we are not just expressing allyship and solidarity, but actually helping to create it among a politically (and otherwise) diverse population of students?